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Word Count: 2,146
The extract presents a sustained attack by Cole ridge on Shakespeare for his lack of realism in the monstrous depiction of a marriage between a beautiful Venetian girl and a veritable negro in Othello He sees Shakespeares transformation of a barbarous negro into a respected soldier and nobleman of stature as ignorant since at the time negroes were not known except as slaves Appendix The extract seems to raise two questions - how central is the taboo of miscegeny to the play and to what extent is Othellos reputation able to counter this prejudice It is certainly not hard to conclude that it is probably Shakespeares most controversial play There is a clear theme of racism throughout one which was firmly embedded in the Venetian society which rejects the marriage of Othello and Desdemona as erring against all rules of nature 13102 Nothing separates Othello from the wealthy curled darlings of our nation 1268 except skin-colour - he matches or even exceeds them in reputation At the start of the play he appears confident that OTHELLO My parts my title and my perfect soul Shall manifest me rightly Othello 1231-2 when he is called in front of the court on charges of witchcraft yet the malevolent Iago is able to call on Othellos deep-rooted insecurities about his race in order to play Othello and Desdemona against one another until their marriage fails Essentially Iago is a representative of the white race a pre-Nazi figure who tries to inform the public of the impurity of Othello and Desdemonas marriage He demonstrates how this miscegenation is threatening to the existing social order and ultimately Othellos lifetime of achievement is not sufficient to pursuade others from prejudice in a moment of crisis such as Desdemonas elopement or sustain his self-esteem in the long-run Othello is structured so that the main premise of the play introducing the main themes appears near the beginning It is
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